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Fierce Eskom critic appointed as spokesperson

Jan 22 2020 12:07
Khulekani Magubane and Jan Cronje

Seasoned financial journalist Sikonathi Mantshantsha has been appointed to one of the trickiest positions in the country, that of spokesperson for struggling national power utility Eskom.

"His appointment is a firm step from our side to strengthen our efforts to improve Eskom’s image, to add another layer of success to our media response strategies in order to be more direct and proactive when engaging with media and other interest groups,” Eskom's CEO, André de Ruyter, told employees earlier on Wednesday, according to a statement.

Mantshantsha, a fierce critic of Eskom in recent years, has become known in journalism circles for his probing questions at Eskom media briefings.

Speaking to CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies in December after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that sabotage had contributed to load shedding, Mantshantsha said that, in his view, the true saboteurs were "the empty suits that are running this country. That is where the sabotage is happening".

He has worked at a number of financial publications, including FinWeek and Fin24.com, Bloomberg News, Business Day, the Financial Mail and the Daily Maverick.

The power utility has been without a permanent spokesperson since the resignation of Khulu Phasiwe in April 2019. Phasiwe told journalist at the time that his days usually started as early as 05:30 to prepare for radio interviews, and could end as late as 22:00, on a "lucky day".

Mantshantsha confirmed to Fin24 that he would be starting on February 1.

“I have accepted a job at Eskom that I was offered. That is all that I know at this time,” he said. 

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